Friday, January 28, 2011

From our kitchen...

Hello. The week has been long, hasn't it? You should probably pour yourself a drink. I'm having wine myself, but K has been having bourbon lately. Tea would make for a cozy night and maybe a better morning. 

Korey and I have both been busy in the kitchen in recent weeks. He cooks. I bake. It works out. Our menu staples have been soup and salad. You wouldn't know that from the photos I've taken. Apparently I only like to take pictures of warm breads and cakes. Ah well, these are the things I love to make and eat. Here is a peek at what's come from our kitchen this month.  

I couldn't believe this came from my oven. It makes the whole apartment smell wonderful and is perfect for sandwiches. I'm going to add more cheddar or some herbs to the next batch.

Olive Pecan Cream Cheese Sandwiches (a decadent lunch) 

I make this sandwich once in a blue moon. It's such a treat: crunchy, creamy, salty, crispy, chewy. The workday doesn't seem so bad when I've got an olive nut sandwich in my lunch bag. There's no recipe. Just chop a handful of olives and pecans. Mix them with warmed cream cheese (Maybe an ounce per sandwich. I find that warming up the cream cheese makes it mix up much faster). Spread on your favorite bread (my current is cheddar). Add lettuce for some crispy texture. The olive nut cheese tastes even better the next day.

My Birthday Breakfast! Biscuits and Strawberry Jam

I'd never made jam before, but Apples for Jam has the simplest recipe. I found a bag of CSA strawberries in the freezer, a lemon in the fridge, and sugar in the jar. That's all I needed to whip up a delightfully sweet-tart jam. The deep red color is a great way to brighten up my winter mornings.

Just add hot water for
my go-to remedy for a sore throat

Mind you, I just had a little tickle in my throat, but that didn't stop me from making this soothing lemon-ginger-honey tea. It tastes like warm lemonade and makes me feel instantly better.

Mom's Birthday Cake, not quite set yet

And finally, the cheesecake I made for my mom. We had a snow day on her birthday, which I took as a sign that I should spend the afternoon baking a cake instead of doing homework. A good decision, right? My last minute baking didn't give the cake enough time to solidify into a glorious cheesecake slab before the birthday celebration, but it was still really delicious. The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours, which I am convinced is the only baking book anyone needs. Dorie is a genius and hasn't steered me wrong yet.

* * * * * 

What's been going on in your kitchen lately? 

* * * * *

Some links you will love:

Dani's posted a new weekly menu. Thanks for getting me excited about menus again, Dani!

Kerry is hosting a fantastic giveaway. You can win a spot in an e-course about finding beauty in everyday life. 

Please try this easy Kettle Corn recipe! It's caramel corn but without all the work. We're having a movie marathon tonight, and I think it will go really well with my wine. Bourbon? Not so much. Sorry, K.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Patchwork Pillow

Last week I turned on my sewing machine for the first time in months. Cold weather makes me want to curl up on the couch with a ball of yarn. The slow pace of crocheting soothes me and snuggling up with quilts and afghans is pretty nice, too. But I had forgotten that sewing has its advantages as well, such as finishing a project in a matter of hours rather than weeks. I cut out the squares for this patchwork pillow one night and sewed the pillow together the next day after work. Nearly instant satisfaction.

I had all of the materials on hand, which helped to make this project so speedy. The pillow form was already on my couch, covered with a black and white IKEA pillowcase that made my couch look a little too serious. The vintage sheets were in my fabric stash. I even got to use a couple of scraps that Jodi sent me. 

This patchwork pillow makes me so happy with all of its pink, yellow, and blue. It's the perfect place to lay my head for a little cat nap. 

I'd like to sew something else soon to keep my momentum, but haven't settled on a project. Do you have any suggestions for a small, quick, and easy sewing project?

* * * * * 

My home decorating skills are pretty limited. I focus on details and have a hard time thinking of the big picture. Plus, I work slowly and gradually so things always look a bit like a work in progress. This latter tendency has left K in the dark about how I plan to decorate our place.

Case in point, a recent conversation between my mom, me, and K.

Mom: So you all are starting to have a lot of yellow in the living room.

Me: Yep.

K: Not on purpose, though.

Me: Of course it's on purpose. 

It seems he thought we just kept coincidentally buying yellow chairs and fabrics and bowls! I think I've set him straight now.   

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tell me your dreams, you dreamers

I've always loved wishing--throwing a penny in a fountain, finding an eyelash, blowing out birthday candles. I'm a daydreamer, and I revel in the hope of having a wish come true. Until now I've held tight to the superstition that wishes have to remain a secret. If you tell someone your dream it won't come true, right?

Wishing has been on my mind because today I'm adding another year to my age. Twenty-seven. Suddenly (to me) my age sounds so...(sigh) adult. It sounds like I should have my act together a little, like I should have some sort of plan for my life. I've always had a plan before. Get the heck out of high school, finish college, teach in Japan, get married, go to grad school. I'm trying to get a new plan. I'm trying to figure out how to turn all of the little things I do every day into a livelihood.

The things I love doing are writing and crafting, especially crocheting. My stomach did nervous/excited flip flops when I posted my first crochet pattern the other day. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the pattern on Ravelry with my name listed as “designer.” Me?!? One pattern doesn't make a designer any more than one step makes a journey, but it's a start.

And so today I'm vowing to say my wishes out loud. Telling people my dream is scary! I've been so afraid of what other people will think of me. Crochet designer? That's impossible, strange, or just plain silly. But saying it out loud, even if people judge, makes the dream seem a little closer. Somehow the voiced words make it more real. I've realized that blowing out birthday candles, no matter how magical, does not hold the power to give me the life I want. It will take my words, my efforts, and my determination to live a life that I love. Today I give you the very first step, my words.

My wish: To be a crochet designer, have a family, make a home, grow a garden, craft a life.

* * * * *

Do you have a dream you've kept silent, locked up tight inside? If you feel bold enough, I'd love to hear it. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bobble Headband Pattern

My first pattern!

One of my goals is to design more of my own crochet patterns. First up is this bobble headband, great for keeping your ears warm on a cold day. The bobbles add a touch of whimsy to keep your spirits up on even the grayest of days.

I have tested the pattern, but if you find a mistake or something that's unclear, please let me know by commenting here or emailing me (fieldwonderful AT gmail DOT com). I'm just beginning to learn how to write patterns and want to improve my skills. I wrote this pattern using US crochet terms, but I've included the UK terms in the "Stitches Used" section. Also, I have a photo tutorial of how to make a bobble stitch that I can post if the stitch explanation is hard to follow. I know some people learn better from seeing a demonstration. Let me know if you'd like to see this tutorial posted.

One last thing: If you do make a bobble headband, I would love to see it and feature a photo here on my blog. Thanks!

Bobble Headband


Worsted Weight yarn

H (5 mm) hook

Tapestry needle

Stitches used

Hdc—US half double crochet (UK half treble crochet--htr)

Bobble stitch—5 hdc in same st. Remove hook from the last loop and put it through the top of the 1st hdc of bobble stitch. Put hook through loop you removed it from. Pull loop through stitch. Ch 1.

Dc—US double crochet (UK treble crochet--tr)


To begin: Ch 12

Row 1: Hdc in 3rd ch from hook. Hdc in each ch. (11 hdc). Turn.

Row 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1st hdc here and in all other rows). Hdc in next 4 hdc. Bobble in next hdc. Hdc in next 5 st (last hdc will be in top of ch 2 here and in all other rows). Turn. (10 hdc, 1 bobble)

Row 3: Ch 2. Hdc in next 4 hdc. Hdc in ch at top of bobble st. Hdc in next 5 st. Turn. (11 Hdc)

Row 4: Ch 2. Hdc in next hdc. Bobble in next hdc. Hdc in next 5 hdc. Bobble in next hdc. Hdc in last 2 hdc. Turn. (9 hdc, 2 bobbles)

Row 5: Ch 2. Hdc in next hdc. Hdc in ch at top of bobble. Hdc in next 5 hdc. Hdc in ch at top of bobble. Hdc in last 2 hdc. (11 hdc)

Row 6-56: Repeat rows 2-5, omitting row 5 on the last repeat. This means you'll end with row 4.

Sl st the two ends of the headband together. Do not cut yarn yet. Yarn and hook should be at one edge, so now you are ready to start the edging.


Option 1 (pictured):

Ch 2. Work 1 hdc into the side of each row (56 hdc). Sl st into top of ch 2. Break off yarn.

Sl st into other edge. Repeat edging. Break off yarn. Weave in ends.

Option 2 (for a wider headband):

Ch 3. Work 2 dc into the side of each row (112 dc). Sl st into top of ch 3. Break off yarn.

Sl st into other edge. Repeat edging. Break off yarn. Weave in ends.

Free pattern courtesy of

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things to do in winter...





* * * * *

What are you doing these days? 

* * * * * 

I'm feeling quiet today. I just can't muster up many words. Some days seem meant for calm. I'm all whispers and tiptoes today. No worries. I'm sure I'll be back to singing and stomping soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Walk Mittens

The first days back after a break are always so hard. I'm trying not to moan too much. 

Today will be good. I can feel it. This morning started off with a cup of tea and cinnamon hickory nut bread pudding. Later I'll get to take a freezing cold brisk walk to the bus stop. The best part about the commute is that I'm going to wear my Winter Walk Mittens, which are incredibly cozy and sweet. 

My sister told me these mittens make my hands look endearingly like little kid hands. Ok, I added in the "endearingly" part. I don't care. I'm a mitten person. Don't get me wrong, I'll wear gloves and stand up straight and pay bills like an adult when I have to. But when I can get away with it, I always choose mittens. My hands stay warmer when my fingers all hang out together. Plus, mittens are great to use as extra pockets. In undergrad I had a penchant for stowing away cafeteria food to snack on later, so when my pockets were full of biscuits (true story, those biscuit crumbs never washed out all the way) I would keep candy in the ends of my mittens. I loved having Skittles in my mittens to eat during class. I guess mittens really do bring out the kid in me. 

I'm convinced everybody should make a pair of these Friendship mittens, which are available to download for free. They crochet up quickly and have a really simple construction. There are lots of sizes to choose from and two options of yarn weight. I chose the lightweight version using fingering weight yarn to match my Winter Walk hat. I'm already thinking about making another (slightly bigger) pair. I need more room for candy.


Name: Winter Walk Mittens

Pattern: Friendship Mittens (available for free from Shepherds Crook)

Yarn: Knitpicks Gloss in Porcini

Hook: E (3.5 mm)

Made for: Me

* * * * * 

Are you a mitten or glove person? 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Walk Hat

This morning K and I took a winter walk. I (appropriately) wore my new Winter Walk hat. We made a point of taking a different route from our usual one. I love walking down streets I've never seen before. 

I scouted out good photo shoot locations, finally settling on this stone wall. Getting shots of my new hat was harder than I expected because I had to hold my breath and attempt to smile at the same time. It was so cold that my breath was steaming and my nose was running, which makes for some pretty glamorous photos. 

I used Lisa Naskrent's Stone Path hat pattern. It's amazing! Two different cable patterns plus popcorn stitches made this really fun to crochet. I think the brim is pretty genius because it duplicates the stitches of the hat, making it look like one continuous design. This is actually the very first crochet pattern I've bought. I usually just use free patterns because there are lots of good ones out there, but I loved this hat. It is definitely worth paying for! However, you can try it out for free. It's part of a free ebook download from Crochet Me.


Name: Winter Walk Hat

Pattern: Stone Path Hat

Yarn: Knitpicks Gloss in Porcini (a blend of wool and silk that is warm and soft)

Hook: E (3.5 mm)

Made for: Me

A note on the color:

I picked out the pattern for this hat a long time ago then spent ages fretting over what color yarn to use. At first I thought yellow, since it's my favorite color and so cheery in winter. Then I wore a yellow scarf to work one day. A coworker complimented it, saying she loved the color combination of the Kelly green and bright yellow--it reminded her of corn. She meant this comment in the nicest way, but I cringed. I imagined myself with a yellow hat and green coat. I'd look like a giant ear of corn that had escaped from an elementary school Thanksgiving play. Not quite the sophisticated look I was going for. The soft brown makes me look less like a vegetable (at least I think so).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

She was a January Girl

A collection of pretty garnet things to brighten up this gray winter day.

Click on image for source.

* * * * * 

Today I'm baking buttermilk bread, making mushroom soup, and reading to my heart's content. I'm pretending that the return of school and work are not just around the corner.

What's going on at your place today?

Monday, January 3, 2011

bright shiny and new year (2011)

Hello New Year. I'm excited to discover what you hold. There are so many moments to be lived.

Last year I realized that I really like resolutions. Even if I don't keep them all, I like to make a list of things to keep in mind. It's like a wish list. If anything at all gets checked off, I'll be happy. 

This year I thought I'd pick a single word to keep in mind along with my more specific resolutions (thanks to Sue for this idea). It was very difficult for me to settle on one word, but I finally decided on "intent." This year I'll be finishing school and looking for a new job, so it's the perfect time to think about where I want to go and to start figuring out how to get there. I want to live with intent. I want to think about my dreams and start making them come true.

Now, on to more specific (and less heavy) goals...


Learn tapestry crochet (so that I can make Cloister mittens)

Make a Butterscotch Cardigan

Create my own crochet designs

Take a knitting class

Sew more


Bake bread on a regular basis

Eat more whole grains

Make at least one thing from each of my cookbooks


Go hiking

Take a yoga class


Host a tea party

Have more game nights with friends

* * * * * 

What do you hope 2011 holds for you? 

Do you have any words or specific goals in mind?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin